Feelings First


Emotions form the core of who we are. They create and define our central relationships. My books are about understanding emotions and expressing them skillfully.



The Rough Patch: Marriage and the Art of Living Together

The challenges confronting today’s couples are varied and complex − we are living longer, our parents are living longer, and the financial and work/life pressures that couples are trying to bear are more daunting than ever. Yet, couples are trying to make their marriages work better and longer than ever before. With The Rough Patch, I discuss the challenges confronting today’s couples, and how we can persevere through them.


"De Marneffe writes with poetry, wit, and compassion about the necessity of struggle in the quest for true love."

—Andrew Solomon, National Book Award-winning author of Far From the Tree and The Noonday Demon.

"The Rough Patch is remarkable for its combination of warmth and clarity."

—Dani Shapiro, author of Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage and Devotion: A Memoir.


Maternal Desire: On Children, Love, and the Inner Life

Maternal Desire helps women torn between their desires and fears about motherhood.  It offers a guide to sorting through the many conflicted thoughts and feelings that surround having and caring for children.  It also analyzes the cultural messages that take powerful hold on mothers – about childcare, or ambivalence, or being “the perfect mother” – and shows a way of moving into motherhood with more confidence and genuine pleasure. 

"The most original and stimulating book on motherhood to come along in a very long while."

—Margaret Talbot, New Yorker staff writer

"Mothering, de Marneffe helps us see, isn't wholly an outwardly directed service to others, but also something that we do for ourselves, a way to add a facet to our personalities, to bolster something in our souls."

—Washington Post Book World